Football seems like a very simple sport, but it is only so with regard to the basic game play and rules. The sport can be quite complex when it comes to professional level or the World Cup.
Planning an Offense
The team in possession of the ball gets on the offensive. It launches an attack by employing various strategies depending on the type of players and their skills. In general, the team which is on the offensive passes and moves. When you have the ball, keep moving; passing or dribbling is the means to achieve that. This rule also applies to the opposite team’s players nearest to the player with the ball – keep moving, look for opportunities and provide passing lanes for your teammate.
Pulling a Fast One: Move Fast
Another good technique is to pass the ball and move quickly towards an open space nearer to the goal. This creates a passing lane, and thus puts pressure on the opposition on the defensive; now they need to defend and counter the attack as fast as possible.
Switch-ON Your Attack
This technique involves giving a long pass to the part of the field which has less defenders; it could be towards the opposite goal or your own goal post. This gives the team a chance to re-group and switch-on another attack.
The next technique involves possession of the ball. The team tries to keep possession of the ball for extended periods of time. The ball is passed from side to side and even backwards without any real attacking moves. This is a good strategy during a long and tiring soccer match. Passing the ball this way requires much less effort than chasing the ball. Thus the opposition has to spend more energy chasing the ball and trying to snatch it away from the team with possession. This is especially helpful when a side has a lead over the other team, it is a good way to keep the clock ticking and gain a significant time advantage.
The team on the offensive should have skills and strategies for every other phase of the game like throw-ins, goal kicks and corners.
They might seem like an insignificant part of the game; it is not just about picking the ball up and throwing it in – so don’t take it lightly. Getting throw-ins consistently can be crucial – when it comes to keeping the ball in one’s possession. Players with the capacity to throw the ball very far and targeting crucial areas of the field can be an asset and can help launch a goal-scoring attack.
These are similar to throw-ins, but again don’t appear significant to many players. However, there are many such kicks which occur during course of play and the team should have different strategies on where to place the kick depending on the game situation.
Many teams have strategies when it comes to corner kicks. They are among the best scoring opportunities for a team. Teams will have specific players to kick the ball from the left side as well as right. Depending on the opposition’s defense formation, the ball is kicked high or short. Many goals are scored off headers; the team must therefore have tall players who will jump and head the ball while charging towards the kick. One can also expect a subsequent re-bound off the goalie or the defenders; therefore one or two players coming in late anticipating a rebound is a good strategy.
Strategy for the Defense
The team which does not have possession of the ball is the defense. A good defense is essential to winning any match. Preventing goals is not just the duty of the goalkeeper, but also that of the rest of the team.
A Wall of Defense
A good team communicates with-in and builds a wall of defense against the attacking team. A pair of players should always remain between the ball and the goal post. The other players should constantly be covering other offensive players so that they don’t get an easy shot at the goal. This is also called ‘marking’.
On the Sidelines
The defenders should force the player in possession of the ball towards the sidelines. By positioning oneself at a right angle, and turning – one can guide the attacking player onto the sidelines. This makes it hard for the other team’s player to get off a good shot or a pass; he can even lose possession of the ball over the side line.
Soccer teams have a player called the ‘Sweeper’. He is positioned across the centre of the field but a little deeper than the rest of the defense. He roams the backfield and steals or sweeps any ball that gets through the defense.
Setting a Trap
The defense can also trap an attacking player with two defenders, preventing him for getting off a pass and snatching the ball. This kind of play can be risky but effective.
The defense should also take advantage of the offside rule. This can be done by coordinating the last line of defense in relation to the attacking player’s location; that way the player causes an off-side and the attack ends with a turnover of the ball.
A team which is armed with a skilled set of players and employs the best of strategies depending on the situation is bound to win.